In a world where technology advances at lightning speed, there are always new developments and novel ways of working to discuss. If you have an interest in programming languages, or you’re preparing to launch a project, which requires expert skills in this area, you might be wondering how to go about choosing the right language. With the range of options increasing year on year, there’s a lot to be said for taking the time to compare different languages before you make a decision. What works for one project might not necessarily be a perfect fit for another. This is why research is so valuable. In this guide, we’ll explore key factors that may influence the decision-making process, taking a closer look at a couple of the most commonly used languages and their applications and capabilities.
Analyzing the project in detail
Before you start thinking about programming languages and trying to evaluate the pros and cons of each contender, it’s crucial to analyze your project in detail. Learning programming languages is very different from utilizing them on a specific job or task. When you’re in the planning stage, and you’re exploring different programming languages, try and avoid thinking about which languages you want to learn or master. Instead, focus solely on the project in hand and make it your mission to identify the language that ticks the most boxes. Ensure you understand the ins and outs of the individual project and what is required in terms of development and writing. If you have clear objectives, and you have in-depth knowledge of the inner workings, this will help you narrow down your options.
Taking calculated risks
In many cases, developers and individuals who have an interest in employing programming languages make decisions based on industry standards and routine ways of working. Corporate IT departments, for example, may automatically gravitate towards high-profile languages like Java and C++ purely because this is the done thing and people are most familiar with these options. The trouble is that there are limitations, and not even the most popular and commonly used languages are ideally suited to every project. Taking calculated risks can help teams to develop their skills and discover new capabilities and superior ways of working by exploring different options and making changes that counteract shortfalls and address potential weaknesses. Stumbling across issues during the development stage can prompt evaluation, which may lead you in the direction of trying new languages. One key point to consider is the resources required to make changes at a late stage. If you get far down the line and then decide to embrace new programming languages, there’s a risk of delaying the project and increasing costs. It’s best to analyze and plan in advance to prevent disruption and produce better results from the outset.
Catering for clients and recognizing individual requirements and preferences
If you’re taking on a job for a client, rather than working on your own individual project, you’ll need to bear the requirements and preferences of the customer in mind. While some clients may be happy to give you free rein and make decisions based on your research and your experience and expertise, others may express a preference in terms of the language they want to use. Some companies will want to stick to the same programming languages. If you are asked to use a specific language, you can either accept the brief and follow the instructions, or present a case for employing an alternative if you feel that there is a better option for the project in question. If you choose to take this route, make sure you’re able to back up your claims, explain your reasoning and highlight the benefits of switching to a different language for this particular job. You may find that the client is receptive to your ideas, and they may even start using a different language on a more frequent basis in the future.
Weighing up the pros and cons
You understand the demands and the objectives of the project and you know how different programming languages are used. The next step is to weigh up the pros and cons before you make a final decision. There will be scenarios when it seems like different languages complement the project in different ways, and this can make narrowing down the options a challenge. One common comparison is Python versus Go. Both Python and Go are growing, and they offer a raft of benefits and advantages for businesses and individuals. Python is a popular choice for startups because the syntax is relatively simple and it is versatile. The majority of developers also have experience and knowledge of Python, which is advantageous when it comes to outsourcing and recruiting. Go is newer than Python, but it is growing exponentially, and it is particularly popular in the realms of e-commerce. Go is also one of the easiest languages to learn due to its similarity to existing C languages. Before you decide which language to choose, consider the advantages and disadvantages in the context of your project. General articles and lists of bullet points can be useful and enlightening, but you need to tailor your research to the task you’re taking on to ensure that the benefits are relevant and that any risks are mitigated.
When considering which programming language to use for a project, it’s essential to ask questions about potential constraints. Are there any conditions in place that could impact your decision, for example, budget, time or access to resources? If the task has to be completed very quickly, it may not be viable to switch programming languages if a team is used to working with a small selection of languages. If there is a limited budget, spending time training and learning and making changes to the status quo could push the figures up too far. There may be cases where it’s possible to negotiate or to push the boundaries slightly, but you might also find that some factors are non-negotiable, and this will probably affect the decisions you make.
Viewing projects as the sum of their parts
If you’re a developer working on a project, it’s natural to focus on your individual job, but it’s hugely beneficial to consider the project as a sum of its parts. To make the right choices, you need to understand and recognize how all the individual elements come together to produce the desired outcome. In effect, you need to figure out how every cog turns so that you can ensure you make the right decision when you select a programming language. Take a moment to look at the bigger picture, think about the individual aspects and how they move together and then make your choice. Cooperation between different teams and departments is critical.
Considering short-term and long-term goals individuals and teams often work with businesses and organizations on an ongoing or frequent basis. If you find yourself in a position where you have repeat jobs, it’s useful to work with your employer to identify both short-term and long-term objectives. While selecting one language might produce the desired results now, embracing alternatives may contribute to better results in the future. Standing still in this arena can be dangerous, as developments occur constantly. Businesses that are stuck in the metaphorical dark ages may find that they fall behind.
The spectrum of programming languages is broadening all the time. While this is beneficial, it can also cause confusion when it comes to choosing a language for a specific project. When making this decision, it’s wise to bear several factors in mind, to make sure you have a profound understanding of the project and to work cooperatively and cohesively to produce the best outcomes now and in the future.